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Custard did not set up

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have made 2 things in the past two weeks that had a custard base and neither time it set up well. I went back to each recipe and made sure I followed it exactly and I did. I know it is a crap-soot, but two things in two weeks sounds like it might be me. I am just so confused!!

Both things did not set up in the fridge after a few hours (even though both called for an hour or less in there) and I thought maybe they would in their final application. Nope.

Moral of the story: If they do not set up in the fridge, it is not gonna happen. Ever.
post #2 of 12

re:

lay the recipe out so we can look it over, and maybe we can help you out. There is a certain amount of cream and sugar to eggs.

STIRRED CUSTARDS:
the eggs are cooked to the proper doneness when a thin film adheres to a metal spoon dipped into the custard, called "coat a spoon". "Coat a Spoon" is a cooking technique used to test the doneness of cooked, egg-based custards and sauces. The mixture is done when it leaves an even film (thin to thick, depending on the recipe instructions) on the back of the spoon. This film can be tested by drawing your finger across the coating on the spoon. If it doesn't run and leaves a clear path, it's ready. If it doesn't coat spoon well won't set up in pie either.
Stirred custards should not boil. The finished product should be soft and thickened but not set. Stirred custards will thicken slightly after refrigeration.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
OK, one was for ice cream and it was:
  • 2 C half-and-half cream
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 Butterfinger candy bars (2.1 ounces each), chopped
And the second one was supposed to be an easy coconut tart (Coconut cream tart from Everyday Food I saw on PBS):
  • 1 1/2 cups (4 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
post #4 of 12
kk,

And then what?

Those are ingredient lists, which may or may not work for the things they're supposed to make depending on what you did with them.

So, what did you do with them?

BDL
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post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Sorry, they were both cooked, after tempering the eggs. I did not do the spoon test, but followed the recipe. Maybe that was my issue. Maybe both needed to cook longer to pass the back-of-the-spoon test.
post #6 of 12
It's still difficult to know what you did because you're providing such sketchy information in terms of quantities, sequences, and times. Also, there's a terminology problem. But, I might be able to provide some insight.

First, the ice cream base: I don't think one egg is enough to take 2-1/4 cups cream to a nappe consistency, so your expectation that the base would "set up" as a true custard may have been misplaced. Ice creams don't necessarily need a cooked-custard base to setup though. I'm surprised freezing the base in the churn didn't solve the problem for you. What happened when you tried to freeze it?

Second, the tart: Since you provided the source for the recipe, I was able to find it and check the sequence. I'm surprised that so much corn starch didn't thicken the milk up, let alone the eggs. By the way, the eggs were not supposed to be "tempered." The recipe specified that they were introduced directly into to the warm milk, which was then to be cooked and thickened.

The recipe looked bullet proof to me. If it didn't work, there's a major problem in your execution or something very strange with one of the ingredients. But with this little information I can't pinpoint it. On the basis of the ingredient list alone, perhaps you added the cream to the custard, rather than reserving it as a topping. You mentioned not using the "spoon" test, so perhaps you didn't cook the custard long enough. The recipe specified 3 minutes, and maybe you stopped after 3 minutes -- which might not have been enough. A good rule is that it's generally better to rely on visual and other sensory tests than on measures of time.

BDL
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post #7 of 12
3 1/2 milk and cream to 3 large yokes and 3 Tablespoons cornstarch, never mind custard, I am surprised he did not wind up with paste or glue. Something is wrong.
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #8 of 12
ice cream base :

4 egg yolks
1/2 pint (250ml) milk
1/2 pint (250ml) double/heavy cream
4 oz (100g) sugar or caster sugar
1 vanilla pod (sliced down the middle)


1) Put milk, sugar and vanilla seeds in sauce pan bring to a boil.have the yolks ready on the side in a large sized bowl with a whisk.
2) when the liquid boils temper the yolks, then add back into the pot heat untill the liquid coats the back of a spoon.(the spoon test).
3)add cream take off and let cool in the refridge over night(Important before you try to churn it.) it must be cold.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Sorry, they were both cooked, after tempering the eggs. I did not do the spoon test, but followed the recipe. Maybe that was my issue. Maybe both needed to cook longer to pass the back-of-the-spoon test.
post #10 of 12
When you use cornstarch as a thickening agent you should bring it up to a high temperature or it will not thicken correctly... also, as Ed said I'm surprised that you didn't end up with egg glue for a 1 tablespoon cornstarch to 1 cup liquid ratio which is what should've happened under normal circumstances. I agree with the sentiment that using your senses in cooking will compensate your need to have exact measurements and time.

Runny ice cream bases are fine, you don't really need to make creme anglaise to have a good ice cream base.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #11 of 12
I agree with other members who have pointed to not enough heat for long enough time. It's a fact of life that eggs cook. And corn starch thickens if brought to the boil. The "spoon test", as you called it, indicates if you are achieving thickness. It's such a simple thing to do, and the bonus is, you get to lick the yummy pudding off your finger...why would you ever skip it? :lips:
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post #12 of 12

Custard did not set up

Its a simple thing to do and i couldnt find what exactlly you did. I was able to find it and check the sequence. I think one teaspoon of vanilla extract was more and Hope you have not followed the recipe and the time. All the best next time.:chef:
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